Trudeau’s proposed speculation tax

I’ve written a blog post about the Trudeau Liberals’ recently-proposed speculation tax on residential real estate owned by non-resident, non-Canadians. The full blog post can be accessed here. Nick FalvoNick Falvo is a Calgary-based research consultant with a PhD in Public Policy. He has academic affiliation at both Carleton University and Case Western Reserve University, and is Section Editor of […]

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Is there life after NAFTA?

  Like all sensible folk I was myself opposed to the NAFTA at the outset, convinced that it did more for the corporations than for the rest of us. I’m still of that view. Is it possible that the biggest change that is now taking place is in the name itself, from NAFTA to USMCA- perhaps done so that Trump […]

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The Stylized Facts of Canada-China Trade

Prime Minister Trudeau leads a big entourage to China this week, in hopes of expanding Canada’s foothold in that huge economy.  A couple of interesting media stories today set the stage for the visit: an overview of China’s evolving diplomatic and economic strategies by Andy Blatchford of Canadian Press, and a review of China’s growing emphasis on migrant labour provisions […]

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NDP Sectarianism Returns with a Vengeance

You have to wonder what Andrea Horwath was thinking. By bringing down the Ontario government a week ago and launching an election as a result, the NDP risks opening the door for the provincial Tories reclaiming power. Which would be a disaster for working people across the province, let alone the social fabric of our communities. Yet Horwath’s decision is […]

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M&A 2012

We knew that the takeover of Nexen by CNOOC was big but I at least didn’t realize how big it was till I saw the Wall Street Journal’s list (Jan.2, 2013) of the 25 biggest M&A deals world-wide in 2012 where it ranked 5th and was the largest deal made by a Chinese company. Canada made the list one more […]

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NYT study on public subsidies in the US

This is a little old, but it was brought to my attention late and it seems to be of durable relevance. Last month, the New York Times (NYT) published an article chronicling public giveaways to corporations in the United States. What is extraordinary is that the article is the result of ten months – 10 months! – of investigative journalism […]

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Nexen & Progress Takeovers Approved: What Next?

The federal government’s announcement on Friday that it is approving two more big oilsands takeovers (by China’s CNOOC and Malaysia’s Petronas, both state-owned suitors) was political tap-dancing at its best.  Prime Minister Harper’s speech listed several reasons why takeovers by foreign state-owned firms are a problem … but then proceeded to approve $21 billion worth of them.  Future takeovers by […]

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Canadian banks use of tax havens keeps growing

A growing share of Canada’s investment overseas is being channeled by Canadian banks into tax havens. The latest Statistics Canada figures  show 24% of Canadian direct investment overseas in 2011 went to the top twelve tax havens, up from 10% in 1987.   In fact, tax havens of the Barbados, Cayman Islands, Ireland, Luxembourg and Bermuda were five of the top eight […]

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Taking Over Nexen

The China National Offshore Oil Corporation’s (CNOOC) bid to acquire Nexen is a large and complex proposal. Canadians should call for a more thorough and transparent review than other foreign takeovers have received under the Investment Canada Act. A preliminary outline of possible costs and benefits follows. The Downside: Chinese Consumer Interests A company like Nexen aims to sell oil […]

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Canada’s Oil: For Sale to the Highest Bidder

Want to know why Canada’s currency is sky-high despite our sluggish recovery, our large and persistent current account deficit, and our lousy export performance? Check out this fascinating story in Friday’s National Post, by Yadullah Hussain, on why Canada’s oil reserves are such a uniquely hot commodity in the eyes of global oil corporations. The story explains how private petroleum […]

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Caterpillar and the Investment Canada Act

There’s been some good public debate about the need for changes to the Investment Canada process in light of Caterpillar’s incredible actions in London.  They showed up uninvited in 2010, took over a long-standing productive profitable plant, demanded money (from workers and government alike), then left — leaving behind a shuttered plant and a shattered community. Clearly something needs to […]

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Foreign influence in Canada’s oil patch

Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver’s contention that the National Energy Board hearings on the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline are loaded down with foreign special interests is exactly right. But it is not the “environmentalists and other radical groups” that are the problem. It’s the oil and gas industry. This Statscan table lays out foreign ownership in Canada’s oil and gas sector. […]

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What Newfoundland & Labrador Can Teach the Rest of Canada About 21st Century Globalization

A shorter version of this analysis appears at the Globe and Mail’s Economy Lab. See article and comments here. Last fall Premier Danny Williams wondered what could drive anyone to let hundreds of millions of dollars slip through their fingers. Last week he got his answer. The Roil report on the 18-month strike at Voisey’s Bay nickel mine in northern […]

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The LSE-TMX Deal

I have no informed view on the merits or downsides of this proposed takeover of the Toronto exchange, but find it interesting the degree to which the Canadian corporate and political elites have again  fractured on the issue of foreign ownership of “strategic” assets.  This is an interesting piece from the Financial Times of London.  Most of the banks led […]

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Taxing Multinational Corporations

Earlier this month, I attended a very interesting conference on the taxation of multinational corporations. It included a case study of how SABMiller avoids paying tax in Africa. While many of the points presented are undoubtedly familiar to this blog’s readers, the conference put it all together with a clarity that I attempt to reproduce below. The Trouble with Transfer […]

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The Ins and Outs of Foreign Investment

To provide a little context for our current national debate on foreign investment, I did a little digging recently in the FDI data. Some of my findings surprised me.  Yes, Canada exports slightly more FDI capital than we import (that is, the net investment position in FDI is slightly positive).  But most of what we export is in banking; most […]

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The Conference Board on Potash Royalties

A week ago, the Government of Saskatchewan released the Conference Board of Canada’s report on the possible Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan (PCS) takeover. It provides 77 pages of useful information, but is disappointingly thin on policy recommendations. The Conference Board downplays concerns about BHP leaving Canpotex after acquiring PCS. It argues that, with or without Canpotex, profit maximization would motivate […]

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Finance Capital Turns Parasitic

In an announcement that largely went unnoticed last week, U.S. Steel said it plans to close down the blast furnace at Stelco’s Hilton Works in Hamilton, Ontario. Hilton Works was once the main steelmaking operation of what was once Canada’s largest integrated steelmaker. Its demise exposes how Stelco has been reduced to a mere shell of its former glorious self. […]

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Ottawa Lends Vale a Billion

So, Export Development Canada (EDC) has agreed to lend Vale up to $1 billion US. This announcement comes on the heels of a bitter labour dispute at Vale’s Sudbury mines and in the midst of an ongoing strike at its Voisey’s Bay operations. The financial rationale is unclear. Although $1 billion is very large for an EDC loan, it is […]

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Capitalism vs State Capitalism and Potash

The Government of Saskatchewan wants nothing to do with a state (read China) corporation takeover of Potash Corp.  The Globe reports: “The Saskatchewan government signalled Wednesday that it is unlikely to support a takeover of the Saskatoon-based company by a sovereign wealth fund or other state-owned firm from China or other large potash-buying nation. The fear is that the new […]

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Steelworkers on the Potash Takeover

Last week, I was in Halifax at USW’s Ontario-Atlantic district conference. It was a great conference in a great city. But having so many key people out of the office limited our response to BHP Billiton’s bid for the Potash Corporation of Saskatchewan. (Next time BHP launches a hostile takeover, it should better coordinate the timing with interested unions.) Nevertheless, […]

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Vale’s Striking First Quarter

Vale, the company against which my union has been on strike since July 2009, released its first-quarter earnings this evening. The release deflates Vale’s rationale for demanding labour concessions and confirms that the strike is hurting its bottom line. The company wants to eliminate defined-benefit pensions for new employees and drastically reduce the bonus paid to workers when nickel prices […]

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Foreign Control of Canadian Mining

This morning, Statistics Canada released Corporations Returns Act data for 2007: Foreign acquisitions of Canadian-controlled firms, particularly in manufacturing and oil and gas, drove a 10.6% increase in Canadian assets under foreign control in 2007. Canadian assets under Canadian control rose 9.9%, led by the depository credit intermediation industry. As a result of these movements, foreign-controlled firms accounted for 21.3% […]

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Vale’s Striking Fourth Quarter

Vale, the company against which my union has been on strike since July of last year, released its fourth-quarter earnings this evening. This release deflates the company’s rationale for demanding labour concessions and confirms that the strike is hurting its bottom line. Vale wants to eliminate defined-benefit pensions for new employees and drastically reduce the bonus paid to workers when […]

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Vale’s Striking Third Quarter

Vale, the company against which my union has been on strike since July, presented its third-quarter earnings this morning. These figures confirm that Vale does not need the concessions it has been demanding and that the strike is costing it significantly. The company wants to eliminate defined-benefit pensions for new employees and drastically reduce the bonus plan that pays workers […]

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Trading on Insider Political Information

There are some really wonderful new young economists out of Canada. I just had to let folks know of a fabulous study “Coups, Corporations and Classified Information”(find it via this list) done by one of them: Suresh Naidu (one of our own) and his colleagues Arindrajit Dube and Ethan Kaplan. (In the interest of full disclosure, Suresh is a buddy […]

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